National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels are responsible for kidnapping the parents of Liverpool striker Luis Diaz last Saturday the government said Thursday.
Diaz’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was released after an intense police and military search Saturday, but Luis Manuel Diaz remained in captivity despite an enormous deployment of authorities.
“Today, we have had official knowledge that the kidnapping carried out on October 28 in Barrancas, department of La Guajira, of which Luis Manuel Diaz and Cilenis Marulanda, father and mother of the soccer player Luis Fernando Díaz, were victims, was perpetrated by a unit belonging to the ELN,” said the statement signed by Otty Patiño, who is leading a peace delegation.
The peace negotiating team “demanded” ELN guerrillas release Diaz.
“We demand that the ELN releases immediately Mr. Luis Manuel Diaz and we say as of now that they are entirely responsible to secure his life and integrity,” it said
The kidnapping put at risk the peace process that is being carried out within the framework of Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s total peace policy with various armed groups, which seeks to end one of the world’s longest-running conflicts. The delegations had announced a six-month cease-fire starting Aug. 3 until next year.
Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasco said the kidnapping of Diaz could put the peace process with the ELN “at risk” because it constitutes a “violation of the ceasefire” agreed with the government.
The opposition has asked the government to end peace talks with the ELN guerrillas, as they have continued kidnapping and committing crimes.
The 26-year-old striker was absent from Liverpool’s match Sunday against Nottingham Forest.